Closing the gate on East Theatre’s winter performance of ‘Secret Garden’

The cast of ‘The Secret Garden’ sits for a picture after the show. “A lot of people know this magical story … I knew this was going to be fun to create,” Director Kathleen Belovsky said. Photo by East Theatre Facebook.

The saying is true.

All good things must come to an end.

The actors bow. The curtain closes. And the performers may never again feel the magic that The Secret Garden brought into their lives.

However, that does not mean that the experience of participating in this show did not leave a permanent impact on those involved. From January 23 through January 25 the Oswego East Theatre put on its own production of The Secret Garden  in the PAC. Directed by Kathleen Belovsky, the show is a following of the young and spoiled  Mary Lennox after her parents’ recent passing. Mary discovers a hidden garden on her uncle’s estate, with whom she is staying. Through her time in the garden, the young girl grows herself with the garden and learns lessons on grief and friendship. The creation of the East Theatre’s The Secret Garden was one with unique challenges, obstacles, and one that will not be soon forgotten.

Junior Cameron Andrea played the role of Colin Craven. Andrea said that he hopes that all those who attended the show remember to appreciate the small acts of magic in life and to never forget  magic is there. 

“There’s magic in theatre, the show, and … life in general,” Andrea said.

Senior Anna Cappas said she  shares a similar sentiment. Cappas, despite her “minor role,” said she still felt permanently impacted by her experience in the show. Whether or not it truly was magic, she said there was undeniably something different about this production than others.

“Never before have I been involved in a show where we create magic,” Cappas said. “It is such a heartfelt story that [I hope] will touch many people.”

Junior Rhiannon Rannochio said she appreciated the freedom she was given in this performance.

“[The previous show] had a very serious meaning behind it that … had to be portrayed in a very specific way,” Rannochio said. “This show is more focused on displaying to the audience the magic of the garden.”

Although there were many differences about this show, many things were also the same, according to senior Sheila Erramilli, who said that East Theatre’s traditions are her favorite part of the experience.  

“The best part is seeing the same traditions and positivity from returning people [as well as] the new members of the theatre,” Erramilli said.

Wherever this magic came from, we may never know.

East Theatre presented The Secret Garden from January 23 through 25 on the PAC stage. “I truly loved the way we bonded as a cast … I haven’t been this close with a cast for a while,” junior Cameron Andrea said. Photo courtesy of East Theatre Facebook.

Because of all of the wonder involved in the show, many of the actors were challenged both on and off of the stage. 

For Andrea, both he and his character were challenged with walking. His character, Colin Craven, is a sickly child that is bound to a wheelchair. In the play, the child is faced with the obstacle of learning to walk again. Andrea, on the other hand, was faced with the issue of portraying these foreign movements in an unforeign manner. According to Andrea, this obstacle gave him an opportunity to grow as an actor. For his character, it was a chance to regain an ability most of us take for granted. 

“It was extremely challenging unlearning how to walk and relearning while making the whole thing believable to the audience,” Andrea said. 

Erramilli was said she was forced to find a sense of comfort in an uncommon role, an obstacle that pushed her boundaries as an actress and made way for growth. Erramilli was put into a similarly uncomfortable situation.  Erramilli was said she was forced to find a sense of comfort in an uncommon role, an obstacle that pushed her boundaries as an actress and made way for growth.  

“The hardest part … was portraying a character out of my comfort zone,” Erramilli said. “The robin played an extremely significant role in the show by truly creating the magic.”

“There’s magic in theatre, the show, and … life in general.”

— junior Cameron Andrea

On the stage, too, was the theme of growth visible to the audience. One of the highlights of the show features the symbolic growth of the garden in a mosaic of color. 

“My favorite part of the performance is when we reveal the ‘transformed’ garden full of life and color. It is a gorgeous sight and really adds to the show,” Cappas said.

Even the audience was given an opportunity for growth. The show itself was written to deliver a kind and uplifting message to all those who take the time to really listen. 

Belovsky said that, to her, the show means that “Everyone deserves a happy place, and it takes some searching and self discovery to figure out where you belong. It’s a very ‘bloom where you are planted’ situation.”

Though the gates have closed on this magical garden, and those involved are sad to see it go, East Theatre is already energized and excited for their next project. 

“The magic and effort put into each production can never compare to the last,” Andrea said.

The winter season has produced a colorful and vibrant show, but just like a real garden, the actors are moving on and preparing for an even greater spring season.

Freaky Friday auditions will be held February 3 and 4 in the PAC. 

Cecilia Cantu is a staff writer for Oswego East High School’s online news magazine the Howl

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